I kid you not. I wouldn’t have believed it unless I’d read it in the NY Times. This comes from the Department of Really Bad Ideas. Talk about tone deaf, ugh!
Whose brilliant idea was this? ABC-TV‘s:
Quinn Taylor, ABC’s senior vice president for movies for television, acknowledged that the attention-getting value of having Mr. Gibson attached to a Holocaust project was a factor.
“Controversy’s publicity, and vice versa,” Mr. Taylor said.
The series’ producer, Daniel Sladek took this rather strange view of Gibson’s involvement:
“A lot of people don’t know much about the Holocaust,” he said. “Maybe Mel Gibson and (Con Artists’) involvement will attract people who wouldn’t otherwise watch.”
Well sure, it’ll attract evangelical Christians and perhaps even a few Holocaust deniers sympathetic to Mel’s father’s view of the the Jewish genocide. I guess they’re just writing off the Jewish audience because most of us are going to be TURNED OFF to this approach big time. Wouldn’t watch it myself if you paid me. I’d rather read the book.
In Variety, Taylor also lashed out at critics like yours truly who question Gibson’s involvement and the credibility of the project itself:
”Shut up and wait to see the movie, and then judge. I’m not about to rewrite history. I’m going to explore an amazing love story that we can all learn from and, hopefully, be inspired by.”
Guess that puts me in my place. I’ll just hush my mouth because gosh darn it–I really trust Quinn to make a fine film about the Holocaust.
I know it all comes down to the fact that Gibson’s last Christ torture flick sold $390-million in tickets and that Hollywood follows the money. But how do you allow a guy who says this (as quoted in the Times article) about the Holocaust do a Holocaust series?
…When asked by an interviewer in early 2004 whether the Holocaust happened, [Gibson] responded that some of his best friends “have numbers on their arms,” then added: “Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps.”
Let me remind my readers that calling the Holocaust “an atrocity” is a common term used by deniers and their fellow travelers. As in, bad stuff happens. An atrocity is something bad, but not something singular. And I’m certain that Gibson in this statement means to imply that the Holocaust was but one in a series of really bad things that happened during the War. His statement that WWII killed a portion (“some of them were Jews”) of the “tens of million of people” who died in the War is another subtle means of minimizing the singularity of the Holocaust and Jewish suffering.
The article quotes this academic specialist in Holocaust denial who is a Gibson skeptic on this subject:
“For him to be associated with this movie is cause for concern,” said Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies…and…author of an annual study of Holocaust denial. “He needs to come clean that he repudiates Holocaust denial, and that he understands the Holocaust was not just another atrocity that occurred in World War II along with other atrocities.”
It is unconscionable that ABC would contemplate a partnership with Mel Gibson BEFORE he issues such a statement. Until then, neither Gibson, ABC, nor the project itself has any credibility whatsoever. Anyone who really cares about the Holocaust should denounce this charade. I’d like to hear Abe Foxman of the ADL weigh in on this.
In attempting to dampen potential opposition to Gibson’s participation, Taylor made this inadvertently hilarious and inopportune locution:
“If it happens to be produced by Mel’s company, it doesn’t mean he’s going to be out there flogging it like he did ‘Passion of the Christ,’ ” Mr. Taylor said.
You can tell that Mr. Taylor must be a brilliant conversationalist to come up with hilarity like that.
Another sign that the producers are deeply serious about presenting their subject respectfully and truthfully is this:
The producers, including Jaffe/Braunstein Films, recently signed a writer, Cynthia Saunders, the creator of the series “Profiler,” to work on the project…
Why doesn’t she write an episode of Profiler set during the Holocaust? Maybe the heroine of the Holocaust mini-series could be a clairvoyant profiler who stays one step ahead of the Nazis by “seeing” them on her trail. Or (and I’m thinking of Mel’s last fine flick) maybe we could have the Jewish heroine flogged to death by Nazis and with her last dying breath she accepts Christ as her savior. Or an alternative vision: Jesus returns to Holocaust-era Holland as Jew hidden by Righteous Gentiles. The Nazis, of course, uncover his hiding place and take him to the local Dutch equivalent of Golgotha where Jesus undergoes a modern-day Passion. We could call the mini-series: Holocaust: the Passion. The possibilities are endless. The only thing not possible is that anyone who really cares about the Holocaust will want to see this giant ABC/Gibson turd in the making.
I’m sorry I have to be so hard on this project when I’m sure the original story on which it is based, Flory: Survival in the Valley of Death is powerful, moving and authentic. So go read the book and support a real survivor who really suffered and who knows from first-hand experience that the Holocaust really happened.
Books by and about Dutch Jews in the Holocaust
The wartime diaries of Etty Hillesum have been collected and published as Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life. This gifted young woman eventually perished in Auschwitz on November 30, 1943. But before she died she meditated, in a riveting set of intimate notebook testimonies, on the evil that engulfed Holland. In them, she expressed an astonishingly intense will to live life to the fullest though destruction might be around the next corner. Here is some of her memorable prose:
Very well then, this new certainty that what they are after is our total destruction, I accept it. I know it now and I shall not burden others with my fears. I shall not be bitter if others fail to grasp what is happening to us Jews. I work and continue to live with the same conviction and I find life meaningful–yes, meaningful.
My online friend, Mark Klempner, is writing a comprehensive history of Dutch rescuers during the Holocaust. I highly recommend reading his informative site, Heart Has Reasons. Forget about Mel and read the real thing. His book will be published this coming March.